Thursday, June 16, 2005

"Ideological Blinders"

Timmy the G doesn't quite agree with a recent post by Mapmaster questioning actual gains to Canadians that might result from the Chaoulli Supreme Court ruling. Apparently "right wing bloggers" are growing hoarse from screaming in the face of the resistant majority. It's rather hard not to shout when you have to compete against the socialist rallying cries to be heard.

Lisa in response to a comment by Tim the G:

... The fact remains that if the majority wants something, then they should pay for it themselves. Put your money where your mouth is. If most Canadians want public health care, then it should be voluntary - those that don't want it need not pay for it or use the service. Of course, it's always easier to cry rights - "right to childcare", "right to food", "right to someone elses labour and income" than to work to improve your own situation.

"Their system costs the public more yet doesn't serve everyone" is more appropriately applied to Canada than the US. If the US system is in such a shambles, then why do so many Canadians go across the border for care? Trusting a bunch of crooked bureaucrats to "fix" what they've fucked up in the first place is not the answer.
Timmy G responds:
"Because if you have the money, you can buy your care in the U.S., Lisa. They don't have to worry about taking care of their own population. Why not take care of well-off Canadians instead?"
I hardly think Canadians are the reason why doctors are rich in the U.S. It's a real inconvenience and beyond the means of the majority of people in this highly taxed country to seek care across the border.

So why would Canadians want to buy care from the US? Because they are able to get better treatment and faster relief from pain than in Canada. And what's wrong with purchasing medical care? Absolutely nothing. What's wrong with purchasing food? Absolutely nothing. Surely food is as necessary for survival as medical care, so do you suggest the state take over the grocery stores to ensure everyone has the minimal food requirements? I guess the state could begin by taking over the farms.

Lisa quoted:
"Trusting a bunch of crooked bureaucrats to "fix" what they've fucked up in the first place is not the answer."
and responded to:
You're right, we should trust HMOs to do the job. They've done such a spiffing job in the U.S., after all. And "crooked"? Do you apply that term to all public servants on a knee-jerk basis?"
Translation. Bureaucrats: People who are paid from the public trough for little or no work of value holding positions that are funded from stolen money - ie. money that is taken against the will of those forced to pay. Ill equipped as they are to make decisions over life and death matters, as they have no real credentials other than the support of voters - ie. those that wish to force their will onto others by checking a box on a piece of paper at the polling booth, everything they touch turns brown.

'Serving' the public in Canada means controlling it. That said, my use of the word "crooked bureaucrats" was meant to be understood as an indictment of the whole system. The postal guy is providing a valuable service and he might be doing a good job besides, but he could be doing it better if he worked in the private sector. But as the government has the monopoly on the postal service, if he wants to deliver the mail, he has to join the union.

By what right or standard does a non-existent entity called 'the collective' have over the rights of individuals to secure their livelihood as best as they are able? The collective will never be able to make logical and reasonable decisions for the precise reason that the collective is made up of INDIVIDUALS and you cannot throw them all into the same pot and hope to come up with a tasty dish.

Mapmaster also has come comments:
Will a U.S.-style system ensue? That could be, if vested corporate interests are allowed to coddle with the state and dominate legislation. It's not a comparison I like to invite in some ways, because obviously a government that feels it has the power to dictate the workings of private enterprise, such as we have in Canada as well, will impose the sorts of restrictions that have made American health care an expensive and only slightly-less state-capitalist monopoly. HMOs are not a good example of private enterprise — American employers are required by law to provide health insurance to their employees through these legalistic monopolistic creations. Elsewhere, the American system is distorted by numerous legislations and regulations. So don't go around calling the U.S. an example of "completely privatized health care" — that's an egregious ideologically-motivated lie.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has been doing some research into health care insurance in the US. Dare to compare:
My fake family has two parents in their 30s and two children.

After talking for several minutes to the friendly state farm insurance agent, I spilled the beans and told him that this was all an elaborate ruse. He laughed and fully cooperated with my scheme.

Here is the deal on health insurance:

The standard package:
The agent told me that most american families who do not get health coverage through work (not common) get a standard insurance package with a $500 deductible. After the deductible, the patient is responsible for 20 per cent of the cost to a maximum of $2,500 per year.

Monthly premiums: $459, or $5,508

Option 2:
Another option is to get the exact same coverage, except a total family deductible of $3,200 per year. That means you would be responsible for costs up to $3,200 per year, but after that the insurance company takes over.

You might say that $3,200 risk is too great a hit to take in any year. There is a partial solution. President Bush has launched a tax credit for putting money into a Health Savings Account (HSA). So you could stash away money in an HSA, benefit from a tax reduction, and access that money during the year if required.

Monthly premium: $315, or $3,780

As it stands, health care currently costs every man woman and child $3,000 per year, or $12,000 per year for a family of four (44 per cent of every tax dollar collected).

Now all of this means nothing here in Canada, as it is illegal for anyone but the state to provide medically necessary services (I figure dental and eyecare aren't essential, because they are privately delivered). And for the purposes of the experiment I chose an American insurer, as opposed to a European one. Nobody is advocating the adoption of the American health system, it's too litigious and too expensive.

The point is to show the anti-American crowd that things aren't what they say they are. People need to understand that money left in the hands of the individual is always spent better than when it is absconded by the state and spent on their behalf.
Timmy's last comment:
"Oh, and my money is where my mouth is. I don't complain about my taxes."
Then I guess you won't mind if I help myself to your fridge? I suppose you also don't complain about how much is taken or how the spoils are spent either?. Via Fighting for Taxpayers
If you wonder where your taxes go

Based on recently released figures by the Department of Finance for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2004, Canadians sent $186 billion to Ottawa.

Almost 45 per cent, or $84.9 billion, came from your and my pocket in the form of personal income tax.

The government received another $28.3 billion, or about 15 per cent of its total revenue, from something that is as Canadian as maple syrup -- the goods-and-services tax, more affectionately known as the GST.

Corporations -- from the very small to the very large -- also sent Ottawa a few loonies in 2003-2004.

During this time, companies in Canada sent $27.4 billion to the government's coffers, which represented about 15 per cent of the total revenue raised.

Not only did you send in your fair share to the government in the form of personal income tax, you and your employer ended up dishing out another $17.5 billion to Ottawa in employment insurance premiums.

Finally, the government took in $16.2 billion, or about nine per cent of revenues, from the taxation of such things as alcohol and tobacco. Of that, $11.8 billion came from earnings of Crown corporations and the sale of various goods and services.

So now that you know how much money the government received and where it came from, you may want to know what exactly our elected officials did with what was sent their way.

You may be surprised to find that the biggest single item the government spends its revenues on is interest payments on our country's federal debt.

This debt is made up of money borrowed by the current and previous governments. This borrowing by our government comes in the form of such financial instruments as Treasury bills and federal bonds.

In the fiscal period 2003-2004, 19 cents out of every revenue dollar collected went to paying the interest on these various forms of government debt.

However, while the payment of interest forms a good chunk of what the government spends its money on, the largest expenditure on the government's books is in the form of transfer payments.

Transfer payments are made to individuals, provincial and territorial governments and other programs.

The category of transfer payments made to individuals, which is known as major transfers to persons, cost the government almost $42 billion, or almost 23 cents of every tax dollar collected.
Yes indeed - put your money where your mouth is, meaning pay for what you earn and can afford. Yeah, it sucks that some people are poor but apparently I accord more respect to individuals than you, as I believe that most people generally don't enjoy suffering nor find it in their best interest and will help out as they are able. And we'd be better able to do that if nearly half our income wasn't spent before it reached us on corruption and the illegitimate personal gain of the Party in power and those seeking to profit from it.

Call me heartless, which I am most certainly not, but where are we to draw the line? If it cost three billion dollars a day to keep one child alive at the expense of everyone else, is it permissible to increase the burden on taxpayers? What about the particular needs and desires of individuals? Is that sick child more important than the health and welfare of myself and my family? I may be healthy today, but not tomorrow. Does the sick child have more 'rights' than another person and their children who might get sick next year? Maybe I want to save money for myself in case I suffer a life threatening illness or injury in the future. Maybe I just want to buy a new car. On the basis of what standard is the collective entitled to forcibly take away that right along with my earned income? Not choosing to assist someone else, however in need though they might be, is not a violation of fundamental rights. There is always going to be someone worse off them me, no matter how hard I might try to assist those less fortunate than me. Are they more equal than me? Am I more deserving and equal than you?

Don't you see that values cannot be imposed - except through force - however noble or good intentioned as they might be? The right to life cannot entail the right to all that will sustain that life. If you extend your notion of 'rights' that far, you end up trumping the fundamental rights and freedoms of the majority for the sake of the few.
A crowd - not this crowd of that, the crowd now living or the crowd long deceased, a crowd of humble people or of superior people, or rich or of poor, etc. - a crowd in its very concept is the untruth, by reason of the fact that it renders the individual completely impenitent and irresponsible, or at least weakens his sense of responsibility by reducing it to a fraction.

[..]The crowd is untruth. Hence none has more contempt for what it is to be a man than they who make it their profession to lead the crowd.

Soren Kierkegaard - "That Individual"


Pietr said...

All very well arguing from the point of the argument that it doesn't work;a little more 'it isn't right,and I won't do it' wouldn't go amiss.

Lisa said...

Yes, soreheaduk. Even if public health care did 'work' it does not follow that it is right or just.

Timmy the G said...

Well said, Lisa. I don't agree for the most part, (I know, you're shocked!) but that is simply the result of a different philosophical outlook. You've laid your case out well, and it clearly springs from passionately held beliefs.

Lisa said...

Thanks Tim the G. I'd like to think my beliefs are founded on the basis of rational and consistent principles.

And oh yeah - I don't have any dinner tonight, so I'll be right over to help myself to your fridge :) I'm sure you won't mind ......

Dick said...

"Translation. Bureaucrats: People who are paid from the public trough for little or no work of value holding positions that are funded from stolen money - ie. money that is taken against the will of those forced to pay. Ill equipped as they are to make decisions over life and death matters, as they have no real credentials other than the support of voters - ie. those that wish to force their will onto others by checking a box on a piece of paper at the polling booth, everything they touch turns brown."

My pants turned brown from laughter after reading that!!! It is passion like this that bring me back time and time and time again.

Keep up the good work.